Captive Audition, Human Dignity, and Federalism: Ruminations on an Oregon Law
30 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2010 Last revised: 25 Mar 2011
Date Written: October 14, 2010
In 2009, Oregon enacted a law allowing employees to opt out of company meetings for the communication of the company’s position on religion or political issues including union representation. The law was immediately challenged as a violation of free speech and as preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. The suit was dismissed on ripeness grounds; and so these issues remain judicially to be addressed. This article argues that the right not to be subjected to captive audition is deeply rooted in the protection of human dignity. It is recognized as much in the laws of Germany, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, and New Zealand; that is, across a variety of legal families and cultures. Viewed from that perspective, the Oregon law is in no way discordant with an employee’s right of freedom of speech nor preempted by the Labor Act.
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